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NASCAR XFINITY Series

Noah Gragson Earns Final Dash 4 Cash Prize of 2022

Noah Gragson and his No. 9 team fought hard to win this year's final Dash 4 Cash bonus at Dover Motor Speedway. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

Noah Gragson and his No. 9 team fought hard to win this year’s final Dash 4 Cash bonus at Dover Motor Speedway. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

While the checkered flag and spoils went to Josh Berry after winning Saturday’s A-Game 200, Noah Gragson had to feel like a winner at Dover.

After all, the driver of the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet earned the final Dash 4 Cash prize of the season by finishing fourth, besting AJ Allmendinger (sixth), Ryan Sieg (10th) and Landon Cassill (11th).

Considering Gragson’s up and down day at the 1-mile concrete oval, the 23-year-old Las Vegas native, the fifth year NASCAR Xfinity Series racer attributed his strong Saturday result beyond his usual fleet of fast No. 9 cars.

“I think experience helps,” Gragson said. “Maturity and growing as a person and racecar driver helps. Manage the races and be able to not put myself in bad positions and really look at that, just know how to pace the race overall, and be there at the end, and be up front and not get to. …I used to get really excited and felt like, ‘Oh, I’ve gotta run these guys down right now in five laps’ and we still have 40 laps to go.

“Being more patient is probably the most important thing for me. Also, just fast cars. Luke Lambert and everybody on the Bass Pro Shops team, they do such a good job.”

Gragson’s maturity and solid rapport with Lambert has shown throughout the first 10 races of the season. Given his changed approach with late race scenarios, the seven-time Xfinity Series race winner is enjoying the thrills of competition, even when his car may not have race winning pace.

Gragson's maturity coincides with his No. 9 team's evolving approach. (Photo: Sam Draiss | The Podium Finish)

Gragson’s maturity coincides with his No. 9 team’s evolving approach. (Photo: Sam Draiss | The Podium Finish)

“This year, we’re just confident when we get to the racetrack,” Gragson observed. “We’re motivated and we’re having fun. I think that’s the most important thing is that we’re having fun. Today was probably one of our worst races on speed and we were able to make good adjustments and come back for a top five. That just shows to me how well everyone’s working together.”

During a year in which Gragson’s won at Phoenix and Talladega, along with five additional top fives and top 10s, it’s easy to see why the young racer has genuine confidence with himself and his hardy crew.

“We started off the year with a really, really strong run there with four three top three finishes and a win,” he recalled. “Like I told them before the year got started, ‘If we can finish in the top five every week, we want to win every race, but we don’t have to win every race, but if we can just average fifth place finishes, we’d be pretty good.'”

By all means, the JR Motorsports driver and his team have been pretty good with an average finish of 8.4 complimented with a strong average start of 6.7. With 13 Playoff points in the bag, it makes some of the tougher races a bit easier to reconcile given today’s competitiveness in this division.

“[At] Atlanta, we had a fast car and got caught up in a wreck,” Gragson reflected. “[At]Richmond, that was self inflicted with losing brakes. I felt like we were going to be one of the guys to beat, if not, the guy to beat, and finished 20th there.

“The next weekend [at Martinsvillle], we got hooked by the 1 on the final restart and finished 20th. We were running third there. We probably could have a couple more top fives in there, but right now with seven, we’re off to a good start.”

Celebrating successes and overcoming challenging times defines a driver and team willing to go to bat for each other during the grind of a NASCAR season. Even more so, Gragson, who will give back a portion of the bonus to his crew, understands the tough assignment ahead.

Then again, as The Cars sang, considering how consistent and steady Gragson and the No. 9 team are to start this season, perhaps they’ll be in peak performance mode during the long, hot summer.

Undoubtedly, Gragson hopes to avoid a summer swoon. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

Undoubtedly, Gragson hopes to avoid a summer swoon. (Photo: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

“We’ve just got to keep it going during the summer months,” Gragson said. “I struggle during the summer months and, just kind of in the past, we’ve kind of struggled on speed. Everyone’s super motivated and super confident. And we’re just having a good time overall.”

Editor’s Notes

Nathan Solomon contributed to this report on-site from Dover Motor Speedway in Dover, Delaware.

Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing. Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Journalism at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's an everywhere kind of man residing in Texas.

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